TD Bank calls on GOD for advice and counsel

TD Bank announced on Monday that Lord Gus O’Donnell, also known in the British media by his initials GOD, has been hired as a strategic adviser to its CEO, Ed Clark and the bank’s senior executive team.

O’Donnell was until recently the head of the British civil service among other senior positions within the UK’s government, including being a former press secretary to Prime Minister John Major.

In addition to the obvious puns over his nickname, O’Donnell’s hiring announcement left many wondering what is he going to do at TD. According to the Globe and Mail’s Tim Kiladze:

That TD hired a strategic adviser isn’t really breaking news. But it’s worth pointing out for two reasons. First, TD doesn’t have a very large U.K. operation, so it isn’t very clear where exactly Mr. O’Donnell will fit in. The bank simply said that he will offer “advice and counsel on a range of economic, government, regulatory and strategic matters, travelling between Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.”

Second, and maybe more importantly, his nickname is God, and that’s perfect for puns. As the FT put it: What would God do?

The National Post’s John Greenwood seems to have found a plausible answer:

TD is heavily focused on the North American retail banking market with roughly as many branches in the U.S. as it has in Canada. It does own one of the leading discount brokerages in Britain but the bank has given little indication that it wants to significantly expand its operation.

Craig Fehr, an analyst at Edward Jones, said that by signing up Lord O’Donnell, the bank is most likely just looking to gain a clearer view the crisis in Europe.